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Somebody Killed His Editor (Holmes & Moriarity #1)

Author/Writer of Book/Novel:

Josh Lanyon

Book Information:

The road back to bestsellerdom can be deadly.

Holmes & Moriarity, Book 1

Thanks to an elderly spinster sleuth and her ingenious cat, Christopher Holmes has enjoyed a celebrated career as a bestselling mystery writer. Until now. Sales are down and his new editor is allergic to geriatric gumshoes.

On the advice of his agent, he reinvents his fortyish, frumpy, recently dumped self into the sleek, sexy image of a literary lion, and heads for a Northern California writers conference to try and resurrect his career. A career nearly as dead as the body he stumbles over in the woods.

In a weirdly déjà vu replay of one of his own novels, he finds himself stranded in an isolated lodge full of frightened women—and not a lawman in sight. Except for J.X. Moriarity, former cop and bestselling novelist. The man with whom he shared a one-night stand—okay, maybe three—long ago. The man who wants to arrest him for murder.

A ruthless, stalking killer, or a hot, handsome ex-lover. Which poses the greater danger? It’s elementary, my dear Holmes!

Books in Series:

Holmes & Moriarity Series by Josh Lanyon

Books by Author:

Josh Lanyon Books

Chapter One

I can understand suffering for one’s art—but dying? Not really my style.

But death did appear to be on the day’s program judging by the groaning sounds from the bridge beneath me. I grabbed for the rain-slick wood railing with my free hand and stared down. A churning brown froth of mud, rocks and tree branches battered against the sagging pilings. I made groaning sounds of my own.

My disabled silver Lexus sat on the opposite side of the swaying bridge—too far to turn back now. I clung to the rail as the bridge heaved. Rain came down in glinting needles. I squinted, trying to make out the opposite bank. I couldn’t see it.

As I hesitated, the decision was made for me. The bridge shuddered and then ripped partially away from its moorings. I had no choice but to race for the other side, clunk, clunk, clunking unevenly along in impractical Bruno Magli boots, and trying not to trip as my obscenely heavy suitcase banged against my knee, my bulging carryall bouncing from my hip to my butt.

I could hear the voice of Rachel, my agent, ringing in my ears. “It won’t kill you to dress up for once.”

Famous last words. Me and my career, both dead in one week.

Clunkclunk, clunkclunk, clunkclunk…

Over the roar of the flood I could hear the shriek of joints giving way (luckily not my own) and splintering wood. The slats beneath my feet seemed to fall away. I pictured myself as one of those cartoon characters, legs bicycling in empty air for a few seconds before gravity kicks in. I ran harder—like the cartoon characters always do.

I’d known this weekend was a mistake from the moment Rachel had suggested it. I’d known, but I had ignored my instincts. And now I was well in the lead for this year’s Darwin Award.

The bridge returned, rippling beneath my clattering feet.

Clunkclunkclunkclunkclunkclunkclunk… My boots telegraphed panic.

Nobody was going to believe this. Hopefully. Hopefully nobody would believe that I was this stupid.

Well, first off, nobody was going to believe I’d voluntarily gone to a writers retreat. I was going to wind up as an episode in Unsolved Mysteries.

I could practically hear Robert Stack now, solemnly spelling it out for the at-home viewers.

“But questions remain. Why would Christopher Holmes choose to cross a rickety old half-flooded bridge on foot after deeming it unsafe to drive across? Why would the forty—er—thirty-nine-year-old author of numerous award-winning mysteries have agreed to visit a remote writers retreat in California wine country when friends and family agree Christopher loathed writers conferences and red wine always gave him a headache? And why would this reasonably intelligent and supposedly sane man have spent SO GODDAMNED MUCH MONEY ON A PAIR OF BOOTS THAT WERE PROBABLY GOING TO PROVE THE DEATH OF HIM?”

Robert Stack’s God-like voice had to shout to be heard over the boom of water and eroding earth. I lumbered along like a drunken pack mule, listing from side to side under the weight of my luggage, and to my own astonishment I felt the wooden planks give way to…mud. Mud and grass. My toes sank into the turf like rock-climbing crampons holding my wildly teetering self safely in place.

I was on the other side.

I was alive.

I clambered up the uneven slope and turned back to see the wooden bridge that connected Blue Heron Lodge to the outside world half-submerged beneath the flooded creek. Brush, boulders and bedraggled saplings rammed against the fallen structure and spun away to be washed downstream.

My legs gave out, and I collapsed on top of my bags. Shock, I guess. Not to mention more exercise than I’d had in the past five years. Cold rain peppered my head and face. I clutched my bags as though they contained all my worldly possessions, which to all intents and purposes they did. Fortunately there were enough extra clothes stuffed in there to make shelters for a dozen refugees, which is what I felt like.

I checked my watch. Four o’clock. It seemed later thanks to the lousy weather. One thing for sure. I didn’t want to be wandering around here in the dark. I hauled myself to my feet. Why the hell hadn’t I thought to grab the map when I bailed out of the car?

The lodge was nowhere to be seen. That would have been too easy. I mean, why would anyone want to house writers within walking distance—or even sight—of a main road? You might have scribes going AWOL, fleeing rubber round steak and limp lettuce for local fast-food joints—or bars—skipping out on workshops given by equally desperate colleagues, or, God forbid, deciding that their time would be better spent writing rather than paying money to talk about writing.

A crooked dirt road led up and over a small pine-covered hill that seemed to vanish into the low, sullen skies.

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